Battling with the Mind

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Does the highly-anticipated HoiChoi series live up to the hype?

Anika Chowdhury

After watching Rumi (2024), which premiered on Hoichoi, I wondered if Chanchal Chowdhury had lost his flair. 

The anticipation was palpable when Hoichoi announced Rumi (2024). After all, who wouldn’t be excited when they hear the names Vicky Zahed – known for his penchant for plot twists and unconventional story-telling – and Chanchal Chowdhury together? The series also stars Reekita Nondine Shimu, Abdun Noor Shajal, Afia Tabassum Borno, and Dipa Khandaker. 

The story centres on Rumi, played by Chanchal Chowdhury, a CIB officer who loses his sight and his job following a near-fatal accident. Struggling with his new reality, Rumi starts experiencing nightmares of strange events, one of which disturbingly comes true as a gruesome murder. 

This sets the stage for a blind detective to navigate the murky waters of his subconscious to solve a violent crime – a setup brimming with potential. So, what went wrong with the series?

For starters, one of the most glaring issues with Rumi is its lack of continuity. The series oscillates between intense, gripping moments and scenes that feel disjointed and superfluous. This uneven pacing disrupts the narrative flow, making it challenging for viewers to stay fully engaged. 

At times, it feels as though the series is trying to do too much, introducing subplots – unnecessary mystery scenes and even dialogues – and characters that, while interesting, do not meaningfully contribute to the main storyline. These inessential elements dilute the central mystery, detracting from the overall impact.

The dialogue in Rumi also leaves much to be desired. While the intention behind the words is clear, the execution often feels forced and unnatural. Characters, especially Chanchal Chowdhury, frequently deliver lines that sound overly scripted, lacking the organic fluidity of real conversation. 

This detracts from the authenticity of the characters. And frankly, I found it difficult to form a genuine connection with them.

The predictability of the plot is another drawback. Despite Vicky Zahed’s reputation for unexpected twists, Rumi often follows a familiar trajectory. Experienced viewers of the thriller genre may find themselves anticipating the next turn of events, which reduces the suspense and excitement that is indispensable for a series of this nature. 

While the core idea of a blind detective deciphering his dreams to solve a crime is original, the execution sometimes feels formulaic.

However, not all is bleak in Rumi. The set design and cinematography are noteworthy, creating an immersive atmosphere that enhances the viewing experience. The scenes depicting Rumi’s dreams are particularly well-executed, blending surreal and metaphorical elements that reflect his inner turmoil. 

The use of color is precise and evocative, adding layers of meaning to the visual narrative. These artistic choices help to elevate the series, providing a sensory depth that compensates, in part, for the narrative inconsistencies.

The supporting cast delivers commendable performances, particularly Reekita Nondine Shimu and Abdun Noor Shajal. Shimu’s portrayal of Rumi’s confidante (played as officer Isha) adds an emotional anchor to the story, while Shajal’s presence (played as officer Arian) – who is also the antagonist of the series – adds a layer of intrigue. 

Afia Tabassum Borno and Dipa Khandaker also contribute significantly, though their characters could have benefited from more development.

Despite its flaws, Rumi offers a thought-provoking exploration of disability, resilience, and the blurred lines between reality and the subconscious. It raises pertinent questions about the nature of perception and how our minds grapple with trauma and uncertainty. 

Nevertheless, the series ultimately falls short of its potential. Vicky Zahed’s unique story-telling is evident, but one cannot help but feel that with a bit more refinement, Rumi would have truly shone as a masterpiece in the thriller genre.

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